Slow the eff down

Sound familiar? A lot of us feel like we’re moving at a hundred miles a minute but not accomplishing nearly enough. That’s why Claire is here to tell us how sprinting from one task to the next is killing your productivity and making you feel like crap. (Luckily, there’s a solution.) Listen up!

slow the eff down

As I type this, I am trying to move at 100 miles a minute, in about 20 different directions.

This is not a joke. Since beginning this post, I have:

  • Eaten an after-dinner snack (okay, several after-dinner snacks)
  • Done laundry
  • Answered emails
  • Made tea
  • Scrolled through Instagram roughly 47 times

Honestly, though? None of these tasks were done well, and just as importantly, none of them have made me feel the way I want to feel.

For all of the time I’ve spent trying to keep myself busy, clean and satiated this evening, I’ve accomplished embarrassingly little.

How many of your days look exactly like this?

If you, like me, spend your precious time struggling to complete what really counts toward accomplishing your Big Life Goals, it may be time to:

Slow down. Take a breath. Look more closely at whose agenda you’re following.

When I say “whose agenda,” here, I’m not implying that you’re taking orders from another person; what I actually mean is that you’re allowing a noisy little voice in your head to run the show.

Because believe it or not, we’re all catering to two agendas: our own, and our egos’.

Our own agendas are full of inspiring, life-changing plans, like:

  • Create a work of art that truly moves someone
  • Treat my body with the love and respect it deserves, so that it looks and feels awesome
  • Build a career that’s challenging, fulfilling and makes a difference in the world

Our egos’ agendas are full of self-centered, instant-gratification plans, like:

  • Binge-watch Orange Is the New Black
  • Get some Very Important Email Answering done
  • Take a nap

Neither of these agendas are inherently good or bad; they both simply revolve around a core of desired feelings. The major difference, however, is that our agendas are rooted in bravery and the embracing of challenge, while our egos’ agendas are rooted in comfort and the avoidance of pain.

Creating a work of art—or, in this case, a blog post worth reading—will ultimately bring me satisfaction, pride, and the joy of collaboration with a writer I deeply admire (hi, Cassie!). First, however, it has brought feelings of fear that what I write will be crap, and frustration at the fact that the words aren’t materializing as easily as I’d like.

Only by slowing the fuck down, feeling those scary emotions and moving through them do I have any chance of accomplishing my goal tonight.

Instead, however, I’ve chosen to run from them for the past three hours. And my ego has happily stepped in to help me.

This irritating little ego still wanted to feel proud and productive, but it didn’t want to deal with the tough stuff. So it picked easier options. How about the laundry? it said. Oh, and look, you have new Facebook notifications. Those are probably important. You should check them off the list!

And so I did. And now I have clean underwear and know that three people “liked” a photo I posted yesterday.

But have I really accomplished anything? Have I connected with anyone? Did it matter?

Um, resounding NOPE up in here.

To experience the deep fulfillment and feelings of helpfulness that spring from creating something worthwhile, I’ve first had to:

  • Admit to myself that yes, I’m scared, and yes, I’m frustrated.
  • Actually FEEL those feelings for a minute. Hang around with them. Let them wear themselves out.
  • Put my fingers on the keyboard and do the damn work.

By sloooooowing doooooown and accepting those emotions you’re so used to running from—those flutterings of dread before a workout, the overwhelm of launching a new product, the nervousness that no one will connect with your art—you’ll actually be able to get more done, and you’ll be better at what you’re doing.

Keep trying to numb those feelings, and your ego will gleefully help you overeat, put that new product on hold indefinitely, send lots of tweets, texts and snapchats, then settle in for a nap.

And you. will. be. stuck.

The next time you’re feeling busybusybusy but aren’t actually getting anything done, stop for a second. Put down the phone/laptop/cookie.

Ask yourself: How do I feel right now? And how do I want to feel?

If “how do I feel?” results in a negative answer—afraid, frustrated, hurt, angry—don’t rush to block it out. Let it wash over you. Try to live inside it for a second; what does it feel like, physically? Is your stomach clenched? Are your knuckles white? Do you need a few seconds to punch your pillow, or to cry it out? Do what it takes to get comfortable with that emotion—once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to move through it in peace.

Once that’s finished, you can focus on the good stuff: if you want to feel accomplished, you’re smart enough to know that a nap won’t provide that result. If you want to feel healthy and vibrant, the package of Oreos does not hold the answer.

You know what needs to happen to move closer to your dream life. Rushing from one activity to the next in an effort to avoid discomfort is not it. 

I’d love to know, though—what is?

What plans from your agenda are you going to tackle today, and what plans from your ego’s are you going to happily kiss goodbye?

 

 

Claire Suellentrop

Claire Suellentrop wants to live in a world where her friends pursue their bucket list dreams with reckless abandon, where they give their all to doing what they love, and where their health and well-being aren’t compromised in the process. As the health coach behind Eat Well. Party Hard., she’s passionate about creating opportunities for people to grow and thrive, and fuels her own crazy life with a plant-based diet, black coffee and whiskey. Her ebook, Killer Confidence: Anywhere + At Any Weight is available (for free!) right here.

Interweb Finds: Killer confidence, the music of trees & more

avocado

A monster avocado from the tree outside our window.

What was your favorite thing you did this week?

Mine was that I followed my own advice from my blog post earlier this week and removed myself from the computer. After meeting two of my good friends from school for an early brunch at KTCHN DTLA yesterday (so good), I realized it was absolutely gorgeous outside and that it would be sinful not to take advantage of the weather. So I changed into a pretty dress, and John and I went for a long walk along Sunset Boulevard, window shopping along the way. By the time we got home, my feet were pretty sore and I didn’t even mind. It was just what I needed.

Here are my latest favorite interweb finds:

I wrote a guest post for the lovely and talented Latrina at Of Trees and Hues about moving to California and thriving while taking big leaps.

More advice on writing an ebook that sells.

The Scar Project by photographer David Jay is one of the most moving projects I’ve come across in a long time. These (NSFW) photos depict young women who have battled breast cancer and bravely bare their scars to the camera. There’s such a range of emotions in each of these women’s faces, and I was brought to tears more than once.

Geeky and genius. A recreation of the Jurassic Park computer system.

If trees could sing, what would they sound like? This awesome video shows how tree rings were interpreted as musical notes and then played on a record player.

Whether you’re struggling with your self-image, feeling a little helpless or just having a rough week, Claire’s free guide to killer confidence is a thoughtful, helpful and loving resource to get back on track.

I love this idea: micro cottages for the homeless.

That’s all for today! What are you looking forward to in the next week? Me—spring break is right around the corner.

So you want to write an ebook

so you want to write an ebook

If you’re a writer, you’ve likely at least daydreamed about writing a book.

If you’re a blogger, maybe you’ve thought about writing an ebook. Ebooks have gone from being labeled a “cop-out” to the traditional publishing model to a respectable and incredibly popular form of publishing in the span a few years. And for any writer who has useful knowledge, a story to share and—most importantly—a unique perspective on something, it’s a great way to promote your work.

Today, I’m psyched to share the unique perspective of Jen Glantz, the author of the ebook All My Friends Are Engaged. (You can read a sample chapter here.)

All My Friends Are Engaged

Jen’s here to talk about the thought process that goes into deciding to write a book—and then actually writing the thing. Jen was also kind enough to answer a few of my questions, which you’ll find below. Enjoy!

 

Writing a book, kind of like going on a first date, sounds like such a brilliantly exciting idea. And it is, until moments before it happens.

Moments before you have to start and are sitting there overwhelmed with anxiety, nerves, and not a single idea of how to begin.

Before your pencil hits the paper, or to be more with the times, before you start chomping down on your keyboard to make paragraphs flow into beautifully synced stories, you need to flesh out your idea. It’s best to start with an outline that includes what each chapter will be about and how long you anticipate each chapter to go on for. That way, when you begin writing you won’t be surprised or lost when it comes to how to keep the chapter flowing and when it’s best to end it.

The next step I’d recommend is to challenge your book idea. Take each chapter and ask as many questions as you can about it.

Does it make sense? Does it add to the overall plot of the book? How can I make it stronger?

When publishing an ebook, you have the opportunity to tap into many different modes of social media for marketing and have the potential for many more readers to check you out. That’s why it’s important to make sure the content you’re writing is crisp, unique as it is thoughtful, and worthy of a one-click download.

Write your heart out. But only after you’ve thought it out.

Jen Glantz

CASSIE: Congrats on publishing your ebook! I LOVE the concept and think a lot of twenty- and thirty-somethings can relate to the subject matter. Can you tell me a bit about why you decided to write it?

JEN: Thank you so much, Cassie! I was sick of looking at my Facebook newsfeed and seeing that all my friends were engaged and asking myself why not me? What’s wrong with me? So I figured I’d write a book about some of the more memorable dates I’ve been on. It turns out, what kept this book flowing with such passion was the hope that people who read it would understand that while yes, dating can be awkward, it can also be a whole lot of other things.

What was the most difficult part about creating this ebook? How did you work through it?

It’s a bit intimating pressing the send button after the book is written. Just knowing that (hopefully) a lot of strangers are going to be reading the intimate details of your dating life is a bit overwhelming to digest. In the end, I was proud of what I wrote and wrote it with the intention to relate to others and make them feel okay about their potentially awkward dating life. I pressed the send button and ate a giant cup of ice cream. I felt really good!

I know a lot of bloggers (myself included) aspire to write and publish their own ebooks but struggle knowing where to start. What advice would you give them?

Start now—even if you don’t have a publisher or know how or where you are going to sell it, just start writing. Writing down thousands of words and carefully connecting hundreds of sentences together takes a lot of time, persistence, and motivation. But it’s also really exciting. Even if you have “bad” writing days or you feel stuck in an idea, just don’t give up. Close your computer for an hour, play some good music and dance around or go for a long walk. The ideas will start latching on to you like lint if you just stick with it and keep working very hard.

What has been the best part about becoming a self-published author?

I think to be a successful writer in this day and age you need to be more than just a writer. You need to have a keen sense of social media and the chops to be a PR maven. There are so many different websites and outlets for people to read content on and it’s important that what you write, who you are, and how you market yourself makes you stand out. It’s a humongous accomplishment for me to have this book in the hands of strangers and every time someone reaches out to tell me they’ve read it, I’m just overcome with happiness.

Any other ebooks or projects on the horizon?

I plan on writing many, many more books. My blog is my platform to try out new ideas and new stories for potential books. As a writer you face a lot of rejection and a lot of people telling you no. My future holds a lot of that but it’s okay because I plan to never give up and be so persistent that one day a wonderful publisher will call me up and say, “You know what, Jen Glantz, we will give you that book deal you desperately deserve.”

 

Jen GlantzJen Glantz is the author of All My Friends Are Engaged, a book of dating disaster stories. She’s the heart behind the website The Things I Learned From and the biggest supporter of the NYC pizza industry. She’d love for you to say hello: @tthingsilearned or thethingsilearned@gmail.com.

 
 
 
 
 

I know there are a lot of you out there who have written your own ebooks.

What was your experience like? I’d love to hear about it. Share your story in the comments. (And leave a link to your ebook, of course!) If you’re like me and haven’t written one (but want to), what would you write about?

What it means to be brave

I’m really excited to revive my guest post series today, because a) I somehow always get fabulous submissions like today’s and b) I’m crazed as hell and happy to occasionally let others do the content creation for me. Today, I share with you the lovely Ashley Wilhite of Your Super Awesome Life. She’s an ambitious entrepreneur, a talented writer, an insightful life coach, and a dedicated runner. (She just ran her first marathon last week!) And her post couldn’t be more fitting for what this space has been about lately, so I’m going to let her do the talking about being brave.
witty title here guest post

Have you noticed when people say “You’re so brave,” what they don’t seem to notice is that you’re trembling inside?

They see you embarking on a solo vacation, sharing your story with others, asking for a raise, or doing some other monumental thing that they perceive as outside of their comfort zone.

But they can’t feel how your stomach is full of butterflies and your toes are tingling with fear. They can’t see that your palms are sweaty or that your mind is racing with anxious thoughts, questioning whether this a huge mistake.

That’s the thing about bravery, though. It feels like fear, but it looks like courage.

One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, says, “You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability,” and that encapsulates it perfectly.

To everyone else, you appear confident, fearless, and heroic. But on the inside you feel nauseous, shaky, and hesitant. You feel vulnerable.

via Flickr user paix_et_amour

When I think about what it means to be brave, I think about being afraid, but doing it anyway. I think of the times I wanted to quit because I was scared. I think of the moments when I didn’t know how it would end, but I kept going anyway.

I think of the months when I was floundering, trying to start my business. With a heart full of passion, ambition, and determination, I threw myself into this new adventure. I started before I felt ready. I jumped in before I knew how the chips would fall, before I had all the answers, and I figured it out along the way.

I think of the moment when I launched my newest program, Cake for Breakfast. I believed in the power of what I had created, but I was still scared to share it. It’s a vulnerable thing to put yourself and your work out there for other people to judge. Looking back, it was one of my bravest moments, but at the time I felt exposed and insecure.

I think of the day I ran my first marathon. I woke up knowing I would run 6.2 miles further than I had ever run before, but I didn’t know how I would make it through. I felt nervous, but I started on the course with the other runners, put one foot in front of the other, and kept going until I crossed the finish line.

Bravery isn’t a magic spell you cast upon yourself. It isn’t a matter of ignoring your feelings or never being afraid. It’s about trusting yourself, locking in on your faith in your ability to follow through. It means pushing through your fear and choosing to hold on to courage instead.

 

Your Super Awesome LifeAshley Wilhite is the founder of Your Super Awesome Life, where she coaches 20-something women and helps them figure out what the heck they want to do with their lives + find the confidence and courage to actually go through with it. She is a huge fan of hot pink nail polish, sparkly cupcakes, and only doing what feels good. You can find Ashley and get your free copy of her e-book “The 5 Things That Hold You Back From Living A Life You Love” here.

 

 

 

 

 

Want to write a guest post for Witty Title Here? Be sure to check out previous guest bloggers’ posts first, then shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com. Wow me with your (thoughtful and grammatically correct) pitch!